Nursing Union Leader Calls for Double-Digit Pay Increase and Resumption of Negotiations

Nursing Union Leader Calls for Double-Digit Pay Increase and Resumption of Negotiations

...By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.

Nursing union leader Pat Cullen has called on Health Secretary Stephen Barclay to restart pay negotiations with a proposed rise in double digits.


The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members will begin a new ballot for strike action on May 23 after the previous six-month mandate expired earlier this month.

The Rejected Offer:

Despite the union leader’s push for a 19 percent pay rise, Pat Cullen advised RCN members to accept an offer of 5 percent.

However, the members rejected this deal, even though it had been accepted by 14 other unions.

This rejection has raised concerns and led to discussions about the reasons behind it.

Conflicting Remarks:

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps expressed confusion regarding Pat Cullen’s recent comments.

He mentioned that Cullen had previously encouraged her members to accept the pay rise on the table, which would have provided a substantial increase for hard-working nurses.

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Shapps found it perplexing that Cullen now seemed to be contradicting her earlier stance.

The Need for Fresh Negotiations:

Describing striking as a difficult decision, Pat Cullen emphasized the necessity of fresh negotiations to prevent another six months of industrial action, especially during the holiday season.

She urged Health Secretary Stephen Barclay to initiate talks starting with a double-digit increase, highlighting the importance of a fair deal for the nursing profession and patient welfare.

The Government’s Responsibility:

According to Cullen, the responsibility to resolve the pay issue lies with the government.

Referring to previous statements by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she agreed that nurses should be treated as an exception due to their exceptional dedication.

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Cullen asserted that the government should acknowledge the exceptional nature of nurses’ work and take appropriate measures to address their concerns.

Patient Safety at Stake:

Cullen stressed that patient safety is at the core of nursing practice.

She expressed concerns about the staffing crisis and its impact on patient care.


Increasing nurses’ pay would not only incentivize them to stay in the profession but also attract new recruits, thereby alleviating the strain on the healthcare system.

A Warning to the Prime Minister:

Pat Cullen warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak not to underestimate the determination of the nursing community.

Reflecting on the rejected pay offer, she acknowledged underestimating her members’ resolve.

Cullen cautioned the Prime Minister against making the same mistake and emphasized that nurses would not back down in the negotiations.

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She highlighted the need for the government to listen to nurses’ perspectives and collaborate to revive the National Health Service (NHS) from its current challenges.


The ongoing pay dispute between nursing unions and the government has reached a critical juncture.

With a new strike ballot on the horizon, the pressure is mounting on Health Secretary Stephen Barclay to resume negotiations and consider the demands for a double-digit pay increase.

The nursing community, led by Pat Cullen, remains steadfast in its commitment to patient safety and calls for a fair resolution that recognizes the exceptional contributions of nurses.


The outcome of these negotiations will have significant implications for the nursing profession and the overall functioning of the NHS.

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